Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Toast to a Dear Friend

I suppose it was only fitting that it was such a grey day.

The Boss and I hooked up to head out to Steveston to toast the life of DeeBee, a co-worker from years back. A Celebration of Life was being held and DeeBee's and my friendship - even if it was limited to a working relationship - was definitely one worth celebrating.

Sharp as a tack, hard working, witty, caring and full of life, DeeBee was everything a guy could ask for in a friend and colleague. And, what's more, she shared my warped sense of humour. I'll always remember, when our firm moved offices and I found a sign in one of the stairwells. It read, "Place of Refuge" and was meant to indicate a safe zone should the building catch fire. I took the sign and changed the lettering to read "Place of Ill Repute" and hung it at DeeBee's desk. Rather than smack me over the head with it and toss it out, she "proudly" displayed it at her desk for months.

I was truly saddened the day she told me, teary-eyed, that she was taking a different job so that she could move to be closer to her grandchildren. That must have been five or six years ago, but we still kept in touch. She was barely into her 60's and it was a great shock when I learned that she'd suffered a debilitating stroke last October. She never recovered.

So, it's with a heavy heart that I'm adding these two wines to The List.

1628.  2011 Red Rooster Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

1629.  2012 Sandhill Pinot Gris (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Funny that the two wines chosen for the Celebration of Life were from two of my favourite BC wineries. It's also funny that, if memory serves, DeeBee was more of Scotch or Rye kind of gal. She likely wouldn't have been drinking the wine at all had she been out with us.

Since I've written many a post on both of these wineries, I think I'll just leave their mention at that this time around. After all, sometimes it's about more than just the wine.

Ironically, indeed cruelly so, this was my first visit to Steveston. For the past two or three years, DeeBee had tried to get Boo and I to come out and wander the dock and have lunch and a drink with her. Scheduling being what it is and the fact that she thought it best not to do it in the summer (too busy) or in the winter (too wet and cold), we never made it. I'm sure I'll get back there again though - and you know that I'll think of DeeBee and toast her all over again.

Here's hoping that they play a lot of Elvis for you in heaven.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Let The Games Begin!

The World Cup has kicked off in Brazil and I suspect my life is going to be rather soccer-centric for the next month - not that I really have that much invested in the event this time around. Once again, our Canadian team has been left on the sidelines, but I do have the office pool to get excited about. And, I suspect that living just off The Drive, in Vancouver's old Little Italy, will see its share of celebration in the street. The size of the celebrations will definitely depend on which teams stay in the race and for how long. Historically, street closures are only needed for the biggest of wins by countries like Italy and Portugal - countries with plenty of ex-pats and presence on The Dive - and superpowers like Brazil and Argentina.

I just realized that, for the last World Cup in 2010, I held a little World Cup of Wine for the blog. That approach of matching the event to the blog totally slipped my mind in the build up to this year's tournament; so, there ain't gonna be anything so adventurous this time around. (Guess I must have had more time on my hands back then.) I think the best I'll manage with this World Cup is to pull the corks on bottles from countries that are playing that day.

Today's opening game is Brazil vs. Croatia. There's only one Brazilian wine available in the Vancouver market and I've already popped the cork on that Moscato bubbly and added the wine to The List. Guess there won't be much celebrating with Brazilian wines this tournament. Alternatively, I'd hoped to find a Croatian wine - because I know they make lots - but I couldn't find a single bottle in the three shops that I dropped by, including the specialty government store.

So much for the grand plan. As an alternative option, I decided to open a Spanish bottle seeing as how Spain is the defending champion and is entering this World Cup as one of the favourites. I know that Spanish wines are certainly a favourite around this household.

1627.  2003 Bodegas Roda - Roda I Reserva (Rioja DOC - Spain)

I'm thinking that the Spanish Soccer Federation spares no expense when it comes to the national team. I get the impression that the same is true of Bodegas Roda. Founded only in 1987, the winery is part of the new wave in Spanish wine. Knowing that they were setting up shop in a region that was awash in traditional wineries, partners Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella set out with an objective to attain a premium expression that reflected the tradition of Rioja, yet in a modern style.

They started by obtaining - by either purchase or long-term contact - 28 vineyards throughout Rioja. In their quest to make only the finest wines, each year, the grapes from only 17 of those vineyards - deemed the best in that vintage - are used in making the winery's two Reserva wines: Roda and Roda I. The rest of the grapes are sold to other wineries.

The grapes from each of those 17 vineyards are all vinified and aged independently. At the time of blending, they, therefore, have 17 different wines available, each having spent a year in the barrel. Only varieties indigenous to the region - Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano - are grown in the vineyards; however, only Tempranillo is used in making the Roda I.

The new venture was noticed for bringing modern techniques into both the vineyard and the winery - such as introducing Rioja's first sorting table, vinifying the wines in temperature controlled oak vats and ageing them in 100% French oak barrels. With the two Reserva wines, Roda is noted for lots of red berry fruit that is meant for immediate enjoyment, whereas Roda I features blacker fruit and a deeper, more complex nose and mouthfeel.

I wouldn't say that our Roda I hits some of the in-your-face standards of fruit and mouthfeel that some New World wines do, but that can be a good thing. I'll liken it to strategy on the soccer pitch. If you put all your energy into your attacking game, you might find yourself suspect in the defensive half. I like that the winery has straddled both New and Old World sentiments - both offence and defence, if you will. Now, let's see if the Spanish team can match the result at the World Cup.

If they do so, we could be drinking a lot of Spanish wine over the next so many weeks.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

One New Grape Just Screams for Another

I'll readily admit that I'm a sucker for a wine that features intriguing grapes - particularly ones that I haven't tallied yet for the Wine Century Club. I added another last night and I'm about to add #173 now - but I gotta say "It's not getting any easier to find new varieties." Luckily, with BC being a cool climate wine region, we can see the odd experimental attempt to try a new variety - ones that are noted as being particularly suitable for those regions on the edge of being viable wine regions.

Valentin Blattner, a Swiss grape geneticist, breeder and winemaker, has been working in the field (literally and figuratively) since the 1980's to develop disease resistant grapes for cooler climate regions. His hybrids are now grown in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, BC, Ontario and the Canadian Maritime provinces. In the last decade or so, he has collaborated directly with a handful of BC winemakers and growers to look at varieties that might work well on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

That means he's also helped increase my Wine Century Club tally a bit here and there. There aren't exactly a lot of wines available in the BC market that feature Blattner hybrids. Not many growers are willing to take a chance on unproven grapes with names that no one will recognize. Further, those growers that are willing don't necessarily produce large quantities of wine - with very little of it, if any, making it to the Vancouver market.  Every once in awhile, though, I'll run across one.

1626.  2009 Salt Spring Vineyards Cabernet Libre (Gulf Islands - BC)

I've previously added three of the Blattner hybrids to my Wine Century Club count - Petite Milo, Epicure, Cabernet Foch - and all of them hailed from Vancouver Island of the Gulf Islands. While the whites might find an easier way into the market, I am fascinated by the thought of "bigger" reds being produced on the costal islands. The couple I've tasted - this Cabernet Libre included - don't exactly match up to the traditional Merlot, Cab, Syrah palate though.

Local wine writer, John Schreiner, finds that Blattner's Cabernet Foch and Cabernet Libre "have retained little of the flavour of the Cabernet Sauvignon in their ancestry. Typically, the wines are leaner, with spicy, earthy flavours." Boo and I found the wine surprisingly big bodied while still maintaining big acidity. Both of us agreed that the wine tasted much more balanced with food than when drinking it on its own. As such, serving it with a group of folks while dining might be more appropriate than just drinking a bottle on our own.

I suppose we could also look at making the bottle last over two nights - but how likely is that going to be around here?

In any event, there's another little wine adventure under the belt. And, with two new grape additions to the wine Century Club in two nights, I might just be able to hit the doppel Century Club membership before I hit my goal of 2001 bottles on The List.

Monday, June 9, 2014

La Dolce Vita on The Drive

It's true, The Drive and surrounds might not be as homogeneously Italian as it was years ago when it was known as Little Italy. All the same, there's still plenty of pasta, pizza, Chianti, gelato and espresso to be found - all well within walking distance. Furthermore, you can still throw out a "Ciao Bella" (or "Bello") here and there and be completely understood.

Particularly on this one Sunday of the year.

After a decades long hiatus, Italian Day returned to The Drive in 2010 and it's quickly become one of the biggest community/cultural events happening in Vancouver. Naturally, we joined in with up to 300,000 of our closest friends for a stroll amongst all the regular shops as they extend out into the street and vie for attention with all the merchants that have set up kiosks just for the day.

After all, can you ever really have enough things Italian in your life?

1625.  2011 Cesconi - Prabi Bianco (Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT - Italy)

As much as we nibbled our way along The Drive, we still opted for dinner at home - keeping it Italian, of course. A little pasta and an adventurous white from the north-eastern part of that country. The adventure in this bottle is that it features yet another grape that I can add to my Wine Century Club tally. Being a blend of Manzoni Bianco, Riesling and Pinot Bianco, you probably don't have to guess too hard to figure out which grape gets to be added as #172.

Manzoni Bianco is a cross of Riesling and Pinot Bianco created in the 1930's and has been called the "most famous among the clones created by Professor Luigi Manzoni." It is known as an early ripening grape and one that is adaptable to a variety of soils and climates. Although primarily grown in the north of Italy, it is grown throughout the country and can be found in blends - such as the bottle at hand - as a dry varietal wine or, sometimes, as a sweeter, late harvest wine or even in bubblies.

For anyone interested in reading a bit more about the grape, head off to a Fringe Wine post on Manzoni. As is often the case, Fringe Wine is a great source for material on grapes that might be a little fringier than Chardonnay or Cab.

The Cesconi winery and website can also give you a bit more information about their story and philosophy on wine. Each of the three varieties used in the blend is fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and then aged on its lees for with months. There isn't a whole lot of the Prabi Bianco produced. One source said around 5000 bottles were produced of this 2011 vintage while the website says that around 10,000 bottles were produced of the 2012 vintage.

Located in the Dolomite Mountains, the family has been working the vineyards from the early 1800's. Being as north as it is, the region primarily produces white wines.  Over the years, all of the winery's vineyards have been converted to organic farming practices and, in more recent years, biodynamic principles have started to be introduced into the vineyard.

I've said many a time in my posts that Italian whites aren't generally among my favourites (not when compared to our home grown whites), but this one was pleasantly full and flavourful. A nice end to one of my favourite days in our neighbourhood.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Howling Bluff - 3 Mile

We've been on a bit of run of BC wines lately: eight of the last ten bottles to be added to The List have all been local wines. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm a big fan of eating and drinking local. And, as Boo urges me to use more of the wines we already have in the "cellar," there's bound to be a lot of BC wine since that's what we have the most of.

We followed suit with another wine from the Naramata Bench tonight.

1623.  2009 Howling Bluff - Three Mile Wines - Stone Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Naramata Bench)

There's little doubt that Luke Smith's adventure with Howling Bluff has taken a decidedly Pinor Noir-esque focus. Luke may have started the winery with Bordeaux in mind, but after his first vintage of Pinot Noir (in 2006) won a Lieutenant Governor's Wine Award and his 2008 vintage won an award as Canada's Best Red Wine of the Year in 2010, he determined that Mother Nature was telling him that his Naramata Bench vineyards were best suited for Pinot.

Not to say that Luke still doesn't make some Sin Cera - his homage to Bordeaux - there just isn't nearly as much as there used to be and more recent vintages are likely going to be a Merlot-dominant wine since he's been regrafting his original Cab Sauv and Cab Franc vines with more Pinot Noir clones.

That being said and award-winning wines aside, Howling Bluff has had its issues with consistent marketing. They've gone through a couple of label changes and re-brandings in their short life already - in part, because the stylized howling wolf reminded higher end restaurants too much of critter wines. This Three Mile Wines Pinot Noir simply added to the confusion (at least for me). I think this was a single vineyard wine that Luke made from grapes that were sourced from some neighbours on the Bench. I also believe that this is the only vintage that Howling Bluff produced (although there is a 3 Mile Estate winery found on the Bench nowadays).

Too confusing for me, I'm afraid.

Luckily, despite the confusion, the Pinot went nicely with grilled salmon - first of the season for us.
However, once the fish was done, the acidity on its own was a bit much and the wine wasn't as enjoyable as a sip on its own.

Guess that just meant we needed more salmon - or needed to keep half the bottle for dinner the next night. Needless to say, that last possibility didn't happen. "Leftover wine" isn't a phrase that is either well understood or appreciated in our household. Just meant the last half of the bottle wasn't as pleasing as the first half was.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Discovering a New Take on Zin

There isn't a lot of Zinfandel grown in BC's Okanagan Valley. Back in 2012, Jurgen Gothe wrote in his Georgia Strait column that it was only the 12th most planted red grape varietal (0.19% of total plantings) in the province. Hardly counting as a heavy hitter in the BC wine scene, California producers likely aren't shaking in their boots.

I can count plenty of Zinheads amongst my wine-loving friends though. So, I do like to try the various BC producers - like Mount Boucherie, Covert Farms, Rustico, Desert Hills, Quinta Ferreira and Inniskillin - when I run across them.

1622.  2004 Inniskillin - Discovery Series Zinfandel (VQA Okanagan Valley)

This is the second Inniskillin Zin that I've added to The List. The 2003 vintage was counted some time ago, back at No. 462. As such, I won't repeat everything I said at that time (you can just hit the link and take a read for yourself), but it's worth repeating that Inniskillin was the first winery to produce a Zinfandel varietal wine and that only encompassed a limited production as part of their Discovery Series - where winemaker and vineyard supervisor Sandor Mayer started experimenting with grape varieties that were relatively unique to the Okanagan Valley.

When I picked this wine for the evening, I was thinking of the lighter and fruitier end of the red wine spectrum. I'd expected that a BC Zin would be significantly lighter bodied than a more typical Californian Zin while still exhibiting some classic Zin fruit. I was kinda off on both fronts. The wine was bigger bodied than expected and the fruit was more subdued than hoped for.

All the same, we had no problem emptying the bottle in a timely fashion. We might have been drinking a little more Old World than I'd anticipated but, then again, I had gone with the Discovery Series. We just discovered a little different take on our regular Zin and isn't that what discovery's all about?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Calling All Acid-Loving Riesling Fiends

As a rule, I don't generally think of the Oliver Osoyoos region or the Golden Mile when I think of BC Rieslings - which is actually quite often. However, I ran across a couple Road 13 Rieslings a year or so when we stopped in at the winery while passing through the area. I see that the label suggests this vintage could age 5-10 years. I couldn't wait that long.

1621.  2011 Road 13 - Home Vineyard Riesling (VQA Okanagan Valley)

The first thing that struck me was the blast of acidity that shocked my senses. No one will mistake the lemon and lime that jump out on the palate. I often grab BC Riesling to pair with butter chicken, partially because there can be a touch of sweet fruit to counteract the spice of the curry. That wasn't exactly the case with this Road 13, but another good thing with Riesling is that the acidity can cut through the creaminess of butter sauce. Plus, it drinks beautifully on its own on a hot afternoon or evening.

Win win, I'd say.

I didn't see how much of the Home Vineyard Riesling was produced in this vintage, but I did see that only slightly more than 100 cases were made in 2012. So, my guess is that there would have been about the same amount made in 2011 - making it not the easiest wine to get ahold of. The fruit is grown on one small block of older vines on the Golden Mile. That might explain the limited production. The vines were likely planted years ago while viticulturists were trying out all types of grape varieties to see what would work best in the new region. I don't think there are many Riesling vines being planted this far south in the Okanagan nowadays - except in very particular plots that aren't as well suited for the bigger reds that tend to dominate in Oliver-Osoyoos.

I think this was the only bottle of the Home Vineyard Riesling that I picked up on that trip. I'll have to keep my eye open for more next time we're in the area.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oh Joie! - A Shower For The Happy Couple

For the last couple of years, my sister, Vixen, has been obsessing about her upcoming wedding to Big Trucker. She didn't get that grand, old white wedding - that I understand all little girls dream of - with her previous guy. Three kids, but no walk down the aisle. So, she's making up for it this time. For months now, Boo & I have been well advised that we're throwing a shower for them. As if I'm supposed to know the difference between a wedding jacuzzi and a shower.

When asked why we're slated to throw this instead of the gals in the wedding party, she stated, quite perfunctorily, that "Mom and I threw a shower for you two, you're damned well throwing one for me." When I retorted that, "I thought Mom threw that shower," she simply glared and shot back, "Don't you kid yourself. That was all me and you will throw me the best, f*ck'n shower ever or your ass is grass!" Okay, I might have embellished the last quote a teensy bit but I swear it accurately reflects her true sentiments - even if she didn't really say that my ass'd be grass.

So, food and booze. No problem. I can even get a balloon or two but was I really supposed to know that showers traditionally involve games and cake? Who knew that Jack & Jill parties run on the same principles? Let's just say that I might have been scrambling a tad when it came to organizing the "activities," but I can confirm that having more than enough food and booze compensates for missing a few other niceties.

An example of my lack of organization? I made up a big batch of sangria and didn't even remember to take a picture of the sangria or the wines that went into making them. Boo's clean up was so thorough and quick that I couldn't even take a picture of the wine bottles (and box) after the fact. Guess I'll just have to miss out on adding those wines to The List.

Thankfully, I didn't forget to get a shot of the double magnum bottle I opened for the celebration.

1620.  2011 Joie Farm - A Noble Blend (3L bottle) (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I just happened to have the double magnum of Joie lying around after I'd picked it up at a charity silent auction awhile back. At the time, I had no idea what kind of event would prove worthy of pulling the cork. I surely wasn't going to open the bottle for a quiet dinner for two. I figure a gathering of the clan for Vixen's imminent nuptials is about as good a reason as you could ask for though.

Now, I think it's safe to say that I don't buy many oversized bottles. I pretty much need to know that I like the wine - a lot - before I'll put out the extra bucks. No problem with this wine though. I've had A Noble Blend on a number of occasions and it's a perennial fave for the folks at Joie Farm. I've actually added the 2011 vintage to The List back at #1188 but that was a standard 750ml bottle. So, I figure it's fair game to add the over-sized bottle to The List as well.

Styled after the white blends of Alsace, the 2011 wine is dominated by Riesling and Gewürztraminer (38% and 33% respectively) with Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois and Schoenberger completing the mix. Various scribes have called it "rubenesque," "lengthy, tangy and mouthwatering," "a stunner" and "magic." I just call it tasty and refreshing and a hit with the crowd at hand.

As for the games? Turned out that I had more than we needed. Our New-to-Be-Wed Game showed that the happy couple actually knew each other pretty well. But, then again, you've got a 50/50 chance of being right if your answer for any Big Trucker question involves his car or the Miami Dolphins.

There were plenty of laughs reading all the bits of relationship advice that the guests offered to the happy couple - and at least a couple surprises when folks were asked to guess who was "the better at..." or "more likely to...." It probably wasn't too much of a surprise to see that the vast majority thought Vixen would be better at making a martini (after all I taught her everything she knows) or that she'd be the more likely of the two to send a "sext" message. It might have been more of a newly learned secret, however, to find out that neither admitted to being more likely to bring the other breakfast in bed. I think their joint response to the question was "What's that?" Big Trucker upped that with a "it'd more likely be a who'd deliver nachos in the bathroom kinda thing."

Relatives - what can you say? I suppose it good to learn that the new ones are likely to be just as crazy and weird as the current ones.

I just hope to be around when Vixen opens one or two of the bottles they received as gifts.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Regular readers will know that I get quite a kick in trying wines made from obscure grapes. I surpassed my first 100 grape varieties some time ago to become a card carrying member of the Wine Century Club. I'm slowly inching my way up to reaching 200 but it does get harder and harder to find those new grapes. Indeed, I now find that I often have to Google part of a wine label to see if it's a grape or a brand name for a winery. Accordingly, it was fortuitous that I stumbled across this Italian red a while ago.

1619.  2012 Caruso & Minini - Terre di Giumara - Frappato Nerello Mascalese (Terre Siciliane IGT - Sicily - Italy)

Caruso & Minini is one of a new breed of smaller wineries that have started production as part of a renaissance of winemaking in Sicily. Part of this renaissance involves a strong interest in the potential of Sicily's native grapes and Caruso & Minini are certainly party to that approach. Much of the winery's production highlights such native Sicilian grapes as Perricone, Inzolia, Nero d'Avola and Grecanico. This particular wine blends two of region's local grapes: Frappato and Nerello Mascalese.

Unfortunately, I don't get to add both grapes to my Wine Century Club list. Perhaps a little surprisingly so, Nerello Mascalese has already been added to that tally. So, rather than repeat my earlier notes on that variety of grape, I'll just include a link to my earlier post. I think that earlier bottle was even a single varietal wine - which isn't all that common to find on our West Coast shelves. I am adding Frappato as #171 to my list though and I'm all the happier for it.

The Caruso & Minini winery is located in the heart of the traditional production area for Marsala; however, only Nerello Mascalese is traditionally used (although only to a small extent) in making Marsala. Rather, after a new wine denomination or appellation was approved for Sicily - Terre Sicilane IGT - the winery looked at using Frappato in producing a new blended wine under its Terre di Giumara line. Terre di Giumara is the name of the Caruso family's country estate and the brand was first used to produce the family's varietal wines. The new IGT denomination allowed the introduction of Frappato into a wider range of Sicilian wines and the winery capitalized on it.

Don't let the deep colour of the wine fool you into thinking that this is a big, boisterous wine. I was quite surprised by the lightness and fruitiness of the juice.  Frappato is apparently known for its lighter tannins and acidity - perhaps stemming from the fact that, like Nerello Mascalese, the grape is related to Sangiovese. Indeed, the winery notes highlight the lighter tannins and recommend matching the wine with both meat and fish.

Something tells me that I'll be looking for more smaller, regional wines like this to fill those last 29 spots in order to hit 200 varieties. Count on it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Return to Okanagan Roots

Although Sperling Vineyards only produced their first vintage in 2008, there is a long and storied history to the land and family behind the "new" vineyard. Sperling Vineyards may take its name from winemaker Ann Sperling but the 45-acre Sperling vineyard, Pioneer Ranch, has been in the family for over a century. The family's Okanagan narrative began in the late 1800's when Ann's great-grandfather, Giovanni Casorso,  left Italy and ventured to work with the Okanagan Mission - a new agricultural community in what would become known the Okanagan Valley.

The family has been growing grapes since the 1920's and their plantings over the years tell a good part of grape growing history in the Okanagan. Starting with the hybrid and labrusca grapes that were prevalent in days of yore, those vines eventually yielded to quality wine and Sovereign Coronation grapes (the latter being a table grape developed in a local breeding program). In more recent years, the vineyard has been converted to largely Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - although the property still includes a 45-year old planting of Maréchal Foch and some of the oldest Riesling vines in the valley - 35 years and counting.

While Ann's family has been operating Pioneer Ranch for decades, Ann herself has learned the wine trade and honed her skills working and consulting for a wide range of wineries from the Okanagan to Ontario to Nova Scotia (with acclaimed sparkling wine house, Benjamin Bridge). She even has an interest in an Argentine venture to add to her busy schedule.

1618.  2011 Sperling Vineyards - The Market White (VQA Okanagan Valley)

With Ann's return to her roots in the Okanagan, her attention has been directed primarily at the white varieties that have become synonymous with the northern Okanagan. While Sperling offers a number of varietal wines, The Market White is a blend of primarily Pinot Blanc and Bacchus. I couldn't find an exact breakdown of the varieties incorporated in the 2011 version; however, I see that the 2012 vintage also includes a good chuck of Gewürztraminer and a touch of old vine Perle of Csaba (a variety of Muscat). I haven't seen any confirmation of those additional grapes in the 2011 though.

Regardless of the wine's make-up, it was deemed tasty enough to make Wine Diva's Annual Under $20 Top 100 Wines for 2012.

The off-dry notes might have been a touch much for our stuff and roasted pork but that's all the more reason to have added a bit of spice to the seasoning on the meat and accompanied the dish with a hefty pepper jelly.

Although I've certainly been aware of Ann's return to the Okanagan, this is the first of her wines to be added to The List. I doubt it will be the last. Indeed, I'll run across some of her handiwork when the BC Wine Appreciation Society hosts a tasting with Clos du Soleil in June. As if she doesn't have enough on her plate, Ann is winemaker for this award winning winery as well. "Welcome back," I say.